As you know, our Open Beta went off without a hitch and everything worked perfectly and we were totally showered with praise and adoration except not exactly. We had some roadblocks here and there (which I’ll get to) but let’s talk about the good stuff first.
Overall, very positive feedback from our players. Players had fun. Also, players seemed to “get” the game (sans a tutorial), community was active and established faster than we anticipated, and the servers did not explode which is impressive considering the ridiculous influx of new players from a simple reddit and discord announcement. At one point we had over 70 concurrent players submitting feedback, helping each other in chat, reporting bugs, and having a good time. We really couldn’t have asked for a better response there.
The not-so-great discoveries were regarding performance and load times. Chromium (Chrome, Brave) was displaying a broken loading bar in some cases that suggested to the user the game wasn’t loading (it was) and would never finish loading (it would). In other browsers, the game loaded fine, but it took a while due simply to size. These issues caused a prospective player drop-off we weren’t super pumped about. We also confirmed reports that the client was eating way too much RAM and causing some performance hits. Damn.
Why mention all this on the blog? Because priorities, that’s why. While we did push a patch this weekend to help considerably with chat lag and leaderboard issues, next week’s patch (this coming weekend) will focus on the two discoveries I mentioned above. A lot of the known issues are low hanging fruit and nothing game breaking, but the load and performance need some more urgent love.
We believe that the radio is causing some performance issues, while we know for a fact it is causing a lot of load time issues. After a lot of weekend research we’ve found a way to build out a new audio system and offload all the actual audio files from the game client. This should help the load times considerably, and hopefully make a dent in the performance as well. In addition, we’ve spent some time prioritizing the other known issues and we’ll try to squeeze some of those into the upcoming patch as well.
There was some negative attention towards the MTX (microtransactions) which is to be expected, but that’s partly because a) the carousel was moving too fast and b) the carousel is 66% MTX. We halved the rotation speed so it’s less intense, and we’re working on some additional items like News/Updates and Player Spotlight that will break up the “buy stuff!” messaging. We still have no intention of paywalls, third party ads, energy mechanics, or punishing systems if you don’t spend money as we’ve said before.
As far as content and features we’ll still be sprinkling those in along the way. We received very little “this game sucks” or “I’m bored” as feedback, but plenty of “it’s not loading” so our decision is based on metrics that scream “it’s a fun game, when it works.” It’s that second part we’re after.
As always, big shout out to our incredible beta community and all yall have done to make this game so much better. Please be patient; we’ve definitely got a long list ahead but we’ll get it done.
Dan & Mike